3.10.2013

I have never been the same.

It has been seven years since I delivered our son Matthew ~ who had already gone home to be with the Lord.
Seven years since the shock of those unwanted words, "You have miscarried."
Seven years since Dennis and I held each other, sobbing, as we realized that our baby was no more - and there was nothing we could do to change it.
Seven years.
And still, every single year, the date sneaks up on me.

March 14th.

The memories and emotion do not flood my mind as they did in the past ... some years are harder than others.  Year five was the most difficult, stretching, humbling, and - the year I grew the most.  This one has been the easiest, the least emotional.  Until last week when a friend delivered a card inside a bag of returned items.  I opened it expecting a simple hello, and instead, found a card expressing her thoughts and prayers to me as the day of Matthew's delivery date approaches.  I was touched and moved, overwhelmed and - grateful.

Grateful because the Lord used her card to open up a heart that had been unknowingly running from the emotion of losing a son.  My son.  Matthew.

It has still been the easiest year, but these past few days the Lord has been pressing on me ... pushing me into a place of utter dependence on Him ... forcing me to share the deep places of my heart ~ with only Him.  I have a husband who loves me, and loves our son.  I have friends who will listen to me and let me cry if that is what I need to do.  But as I shared passionately with the young women who lined my couch last week, I need to run to Christ first.  HE has to be the One I seek when my heart is broken.  HE has to be the One I cry out to when I feel confused and overwhelmed.  And HE has to be the One I ask to dry my tears.

The Lord is the One who gave us a son.
The Lord is the One who took him away.

And the Lord is the One who has healed me.

The ache of missing our son will never completely go away, and I have asked the Lord that He would not let it.  I never want to forget.  I never want to lose the connection to the pain.  Because once I do, I will no longer be effective in ministering to other women who are siting where I once sat ... on a hospital bed, with empty arms, wondering what in the world just happened.

I remember every moment of that day.  The nurses coming in with that look of understanding and sadness.  The social worker hoping to explain the "why" but without ever mentioning the name of the Lord - the only One who ever knows the why to any of life's trials.  One of our dearest and oldest friends coming to dedicate Matthew to the Lord, a grown man, weeping, as he shared in our sorrow.  Dennis not knowing what to say or do for me.  And crying out to the Lord ... praying every second because I could think of nothing else to do.  "It has to be bigger than me losing a baby, Lord.  I am not the first woman, and I will not be the last.  There has to be more."  And five years later ... five years of sharing my story with other women ... five years of searching Scripture to understand this God who carried me through the hardest part of my life ... five years of trusting Him even when I did not understand ...

five years later - He created Joy Comes in the Morning.

And, oh my friends, how He has grown me and blessed me and continues to heal me through this ministry!  The women I have met, talked to, listened to, prayed with ... I would not trade one single moment with any of them.  The loss of a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth is a hard burden to bear ... sometimes rendering us unable to function for a time.  But through the trial, the heartache and the pain, God is at work!  In us, around us, and one day - if we will let Him - THROUGH US.

There is a wonderful song which shares this phrase:  If I lost it all, would my hands stay lifted, to the One who gives, and takes away?

I will admit, there were times that I had to ask others to help keep my hands raised to the heavens when I was too weak to do it myself.  But when I look back on that time, I can see the hand of the Lord so clearly, and how He prepared me for that moment.  He knew me better than I knew myself, and He knew that yes, even in the most difficult days of my life, I would still praise Him.

The day I delivered Matthew Isaac was the worst day of my life.
And the day I delivered Matthew Isaac was the best day of my life.

Because it was that day when I finally understood what full surrender to a holy God really meant ... and I have never, ever been the same.

I know, Lord, that Your laws are righteous,
and that in faithfulness You have afflicted me.
May Your unfailing love be my comfort,
according to Your promise to Your servant.
Psalm 119

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